Some say it is a sacred site that was used by druid for ritual offerings.
Some say the famous author Agatha Christie visited the surroundings during her mysterious 11-day disappearance in 1926.
Some say the ghost of a drowned maiden still haunts the lake nowadays…
One thing’s for sure : it casts a spell on you.
Located in the North Downs area of Surrey, a few miles east of Guildford, Silent Pool is a large, half-natural lake very famous for its crystal clear water…and its silence.
I’m not lying, see for yourself!
The lake is surrounded by very old box trees (Buxus sempervirens), still flowering in the late November sun.
The lake is fed on one end by a spring (hence the very clear water), and wet rocks where the water bubbles are a favorite habitat for mosses and ferns like this Hart’s Tongue Fern, Asplenium scolopendrium.
Behind the lake, I was surprised to discover a neat vineyard. As some of you might know, the chalky hills of Surrey are very similar to the Champagne area of France. The first to realize this was a businessman from Dorking who founded the now-very-famous Denbies Estate in the eighties. Albury Vineyard is one of the much more recent attempts at producing wine in England. It was first harvested in 2011, and I wouldn’t mind tasting it. With all that sun, it can’t be a bad beverage!
Like many ponds in the UK, Silent Pool is now infested by the invasive New Zealand pigmyweed (Crassula helmsii – top of the picture). Introduced in the UK as an aquarium plant in 1911, it has spread badly and forms dense mats which prevent native aquatic plants from growing and deplete the water from oxygen, leading to the death of many animals.
It is frost-resistant, shade-resistant, dessication-resistant and not grazed by any native animal, therefore it is very difficult to eliminate once it has settled somewhere!
Surrey Wildlife Trust is now trying to control the expansion of the weed to other sites by removing the plant manually or treating it with herbicides (this may sound like a very aggressive option as it can kill other plants too, but it’s actually the only efficient way to deal with pygmyweed).
They have also been reports of more frequent dry-ups of the pond, but not this year, thanks to the oh-so-wet summer! I’ve heard some wild swimming enthusiasts enjoy its clear water in summer, why not!
Silent Pool is a certainly a nice and mysterious place to discover if you happen to be near Guildford…who knows, you might even encounter the maiden ghost! 😉